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Peacemaking Among Primates [Hardcover]

F De Waal
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 July 1989
Does biology condemn the human species to violence and war? Previous studies of animal behavior incline us to answer yes, but the message of this book is considerably more optimistic. Without denying our heritage of aggressive behavior, Frans de Waal describes powerful checks and balances in the makeup of our closest animal relatives, and in so doing he shows that to humans making peace is as natural as making war.

In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights. Chimpanzees, for instance, reconcile with a hug and a kiss, whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries. By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions, de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social relationships can be built and strengthened through reconciliation.

The author examines five different species--chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, stump-tailed monkeys, bonobos, and humans--and relates anecdotes, culled from exhaustive observations, that convey the intricacies and refinements of simian behavior. Each species utilizes its own unique peacemaking strategies. The bonobo, for example, is little known to science, and even less to the general public, but this rare ape maintains peace by means of sexual behavior divorced from reproductive functions; sex occurs in all possible combinations and positions whenever social tensions need to be resolved. "Make love, not war" could be the bonobo slogan.

De Waal's demonstration of reconciliation in both monkeys andapes strongly supports his thesis that forgiveness and peacemaking are widespread among nonhuman primates--an aspect of primate societies that should stimulate much needed work on human conflict resolution.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (1 July 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674659201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674659209
  • Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 17.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,417,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Lorenz sought to trace the origins of human aggressive impulses. Now, 20 years later, the Lorenzian mantle--considerably transformed--has slipped onto the shoulders of a young Dutch ethologist named Frans de Waal. Once again we have a keen observer who immerses himself in the social lives of other animals. Like Lorenz, de Waal is eager to let his thoughts range widely and speculatively in order to extract from comparisons of human beings with other animals take-home messages about global issues of peace and war. -- Sarah Blaffer Hrdy "New York Times Book Review"

About the Author

Frans B. M. de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Psychology Department and Director of Living Links, part of the Yerkes Primate Center, Emory University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Fires start, but fires also go out. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Very good book for those interested in primate behavior in general. De Waal is an execellent writer and produces books that flow very easily while keeping you interested.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Work of our time 2 Dec 2006
By Morgan Witthoft - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very good book for those interested in primate behavior. Or, for those not yet interested in primate behavior. Or for anybody sentient.

The writing and storytelling are vibrant enough that you can read this for pure fun.

The level of insight, the author's power of questioning, the mix of rigorous observation and inference with boundary-crossing insight, are thrilling and rare.

The offer to improve our understanding of ourselves along with primates makes this a book of great power.

I read this several years ago and still find myself dwelling on the ideas. I find myself viewing the world differently and more hopefully because of it. A pity I lent my copy out one time too many. Maybe I'll buy another.
7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delve into the plotting and complex society of primates. 22 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Very good book for those interested in primate behavior in general. De Waal is an execellent writer and produces books that flow very easily while keeping you interested.
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